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WTO launches handbook on global trade intellectual property rights

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The World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday launched the second edition of “A Handbook on the WTO TRIPS Agreement”, which describes the historical and legal background to the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The global trade group said in an email that the handbook also described its role in the organization and its institutional framework. The publication coincides with the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Agreement.

The WTO said building on the first edition published in 2012, the Handbook provides a comprehensive and non-technical explanation of the TRIPS Agreement.

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According to the global trade body, topics reviewed cover general provisions and basic principles; copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; patents; industrial designs, layout designs, undisclosed information and anti-competitive practices; enforcement of intellectual property rights; dispute settlement; TRIPS and public health; and current TRIPS issues.

“The book also contains a guide to TRIPS notifications by WTO members and describes how to access and make use of the official documentation relating to the TRIPS Agreement and connected issues. Furthermore, it includes the legal texts of the TRIPS Agreement and the relevant provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) conventions referred to in it, as well as subsequent relevant WTO instruments.

“The new edition includes the amendment to the TRIPS Agreement that entered into force in 2017, marking the first time since the organization opened its doors in 1995 that WTO accords had been amended, and provides updates on other recent developments.”

The publication was edited by Antony Taubman, Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division of the WTO, Hannu Wager, a senior officer of that division, and Jayashree Watal, a former member of the division.

In the preface, Antony Taubman says: “The need for a practical knowledge of TRIPS, its provisions, and its institutional context extends beyond the traditional circle of trade negotiators and IP lawyers, and this Handbook has been prepared to serve the needs of this wider community of legislators, diplomats, policy-makers, other government officials, representatives of the civil society and industry, practitioners, journalists, students and other interested parties in the general public.”

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